By Amanda Cunningham, Photographer and Ciannait Fitzpatrick, Journalist–Rock At Night London Correspondents
Venue: O2 Forum-Kentish Town—March 31, 2016
It’s 21:15 and the venue is full yet the audience continues to grow: a breathing mass. There is a buzz of excitement and the background music has become hard to hear over the crowd. With each minute closer to 21:30, both music and audience become louder, and with each new figure on stage testing sound and instruments the excitement deepens. The air is dense with expectation.
Blue lights flicker over the audience. Nothing But Thieves enter the stage in shadows, there is small lull in noise, bright white lights come on stage and the cheer from the crowd envelops the band.
Conor begins a slow clap in time with James’ drumbeats, the audience joins in. The drumbeats quicken and the show is opened with Itch.
It is clear this band love performing; they do it with passion. Never a lone member, they are constantly looking to be part of the bigger act and they invite us to be part of that too. ‘Let’s make some noise’ Conor shouts to the audience and they do not let him down, and rapaciously and raucously, we move straight into Painkiller.
Their third song opens with a tremendous vocal performance from Conor, not that he ever disappoints. It is sometimes easy to hear Matt Bellamy within his vocal range, particularly with Graveyard Whistling and Excuse Me.
There are times the audience sings the lyrics, clearly to the delight of the band, and the band responds with an almost hedonistic show of their own; a pleasurable one for us.
There are delicate parts to the show too. Conor’s voice, as loud and as strong as it is, is also beautifully delicate, notably so in Hanging when he sings unaccompanied for only a few moments and then the drums crash enjoyably through the venue.
As the night goes on, their hedonistic vibe comes to a climax with their instrumental; Nothing but Thieves are wild, they embrace their passion with such raw energy, it is hard not to throw yourself on stage with them and join in! Somewhere behind me I hear someone shout ‘They’re awesome, right?’ Indeed they are.
With one last ecstatic song, the band leave. The crowd is restless for more; there are whistles, chants, stamping of feet. The stage, empty, slowly smokes, silently.
The chants continue, the foot stamping continues, the whistles continue and then Nothing But Thieves reappear on stage and we are all beside ourselves. It is here Conor utters the words “We’re just five little scabs from Southend…” That, they are most definitely not.
We are given three more songs and at the end the audience is thanked for their energy and love and there is a request to “please come back”, I doubt anyone in the room would not want to.
Rather aptly, they finish with Ban All the Music and with a triumphant finish to the audience’s calls and whistles they leave the stage.
Members: Conor-Vocals Joe-Guitars Dom-Guitars Price-Drums Phil-Bass; Home Town: Southend On Sea
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